Are you sitting back? Snacks at hand? Relaxed for the return of the Houston Texans on Sunday afternoon?
Well, maybe you shouldn’t be.
That’s the message from the streets of the North Shore where football fans are optimistic but by no means blase about the upcoming playoff game.
Yes, the Patriots easily handled Houston when the two teams played in early December, beating them by a convincing 42 - 14. Nor have the Texans had much success since. So, on paper it looks like another easy win for one of the most successful teams in sports. But every fan knows that they play the game on the field for a reason.
Deidre Thomas, originally a native of Boxford, has come all the way from Clayton, N.C., to attend Sunday’s game. And her friend Adrianne Wyatt, a former Salem resident, came all the way from San Diego. Bronwyn Kane, Thomas’ sister and a season ticket holder from Lynn, is helping both ladies get inside Gillette Stadium.
“I come back for the opening game every year,” says Thomas as the three gather at Sports Collectibles in Peabody Square.
“And I’ve started coming back for one game each December,” nods Wyatt.
“We have awesome husbands,” grins Thomas. “Mine is at home with three kids.” She has a simple explanation for her love of the game, laughing, “I am the son my father never had. My dog’s name is Grogan.” (Steve Grogan was a Patriots quarterback from 1975 to 1990.) She idolizes lineman Vince Wilfork, the rock of the Pats’ defense.
All three admit that distance cannot diminish their devotion to the Patriots. When Kane called to say she could get tickets for Sunday’s game, Wyatt shot back, “I’ll be on the next flight.”
The pair are optimistic — but cautiously so. “When we played the last time we didn’t have (super tight end and pass catcher Rob) Gronkowski,” Thomas points out. Gronk, as he is known, is now off the injured list. On the other hand, the Texans were yet to be humiliated. “I’m sure a lot of the Texans are remembering that game.”